Be alert for new scams
Uncertainty and fear; two elements that criminals and con artists thrive on. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends consumers be especially alert to avoid falling for a scam. Below are several recent reported scams, along with tips to identify and avoid them.
- Phony cures and fake masks. The BBB has received reports of people receiving emails and messages claiming that they can buy products the government is supposedly keeping secret – ways to prevent or cure coronavirus. As of press time, no vaccines have been approved.
- Economic impact payment (Stimulus Check) scams. Scammers have been sending out fake economic impact checks and asking consumers to pay fees to get their money earlier than what the IRS promised. These claims are false and open consumers to the risk of identity theft and outright theft of the funds in their bank account.
- Phishing scams. Many people are currently working from home, and con artists have stepped up their phishing scams. They may claim to be from an official department of the employer to offer IT support or claim the company-issued computer has a virus. They may use scare tactics, stating the computer will crash if you don’t act immediately, all in an attempt to gain access to your computer remotely, or to your personal or company’s information.
- Someone you know has been infected. You may receive a text or an email stating that someone you know or have been in contact with has been infected. A link is provided in the message for more instructions or to take an online “symptoms” test. Do not click on the link; if you do, scammers can download malware onto your computer and gain access to your sensitive personal information.
- Employment scams. Fraudsters find ways to take advantage of people looking for work online by posting phony work-from-home jobs promising remote work with good pay and no interview required. These cons often use real company names and can be very convincing. After you are “hired,” the company may charge you upfront for “training.” You may be asked to provide your personal banking information to run a credit check or set up direct deposit. You may also be “accidentally” overpaid with a fake check and asked to deposit the check and wire back the difference.